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Death penalty not sought against former NOPD officer in Henry Glover shooting
Aug-06-2010 1115 0


The Justice Department doesn't intend to seek the death penalty against a former New Orleans police officer charged with fatally shooting a man in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath.

The car in which Henry Glover's body was found on the Algiers Point levee shortly after Hurricane Katrina.

A court filing Thursday discloses that decision in the case against David Warren, who allegedly shot and killed 31-year-old Henry Glover before his charred body turned up in a burned car after the 2005 storm.

Warren and four other current and former New Orleans officers pleaded not guilty in June to federal charges. One of the two charges against Warren -- depravation of rights under color of law -- carries a maximum sentence of life in prison or the death penalty.

The charges against former Lt. Robert Italiano, Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann, Lt. Travis McCabe and Officer Gregory McRae include obstruction of justice.



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Reuters Sep-01-2014 34 0
In Detroit, even the most basic necessity cannot be taken for granted.

Some 15,000 residential customers have lost water service, and tens of thousands more are in danger of losing it, thanks to past due bills. But businesses owing hundreds of thousands of dollars have not been disconnected, Detroit Water and Sewerage Department records show.

According to a department list, the top 40 commercial and industrial accounts have past-due accounts totaling $9.5 million. That list includes apartment complexes, the Chrysler Group, real estate agencies, a laundromat and even a cemetery.

Meanwhile, stories of residential shutoffs abound. Tangela Harris been doing her best to keep up, but when she was no longer able to work she had trouble stretching her monthly $780 in disability benefits to pay the water bill. So her water service was disconnected. Harris has since come up with $1,100 to have services restored but is having trouble keeping her $180 monthly payment to the water department. On top of that, her home has entered foreclosure because Detroit water bills are rolled into property taxes.

“They can say my house is condemned and take it,” said Harris, 38, a community organizer. “People think we’re not prioritizing, but it’s not that simple when you’re under the poverty level. It’s a different mindset.”

In March, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department announced it was going after deliquent accounts in earnest after a reprieve this past winter. The city is in bankruptcy, after all, and looking for revenue where it can. In March, about half the department’s customers had outstanding balances, meaning they are at least 60 days past due or more than $150 behind. That amounted to $118 million in charges. Through June 30, service was severed to 15,200 customers, and about 92,000 remain in shutoff status.

The $9.5 million owed by non-residents would amount to $625 for each severed customer and $103 for those in shutoff status.

So far, most businesses have been exempt. At the beginning of July, the department issued 10-day shutoff notices to 250 commercial customers. Despite repeated requests, the department was unable to say how many of those, if any, have had their services discontinued. Vargo Golf Co., an Oakland County-based golf course management firm, owes $478,000, while a business called Russell Industrial Associations is more than $181,000 behind.




The $9.5 million owed by non-residents would amount to $625 for each severed customer.

The No. 1 scofflaw isn’t a business but the State of Michigan, which the department said owes more than $5 million. Dave Murray, deputy press secretary for Gov. Rick Snyder (who is sheparding Detroit through the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history) said the bills have been disputed for the last five years over a possible broken water main near the old state fairgrounds in the city limits, which was mothballed several years ago.

“The attorney general’s office has entered into discussions with the City of Detroit, and it would be inappropriate to comment on ongoing negotiations,” Murray said.

Detroit Emergency Manager Bill Nowling said that, particularly among businesses, conflicting accounts of what is owed are not unusual. “What happens is that they dispute them, and there’s a process for regulating disputes. It doesn’t mean they won’t get shut off,” he said.

Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s emergency financial manager, has generally defended the shutoffs, saying payment arrangements can be made. He’s also said many customers have since paid up and have had services restored.

Valerie Blakely hopes she’ll be cut some slack. The Detroit mother of five said she had couldn’t both keep her house warm during one of the worst winters in Michigan history and pay her water bill. When workers recently showed up to disconnect services, she blocked them. They then proceeded to turn off services to nearly every house on her block, she said.

“My neighbors were standing out in the street, unable to cook or do their dishes,” she said, adding that she has about three weeks to pay up, or face another visit by an agency contracted to shut off water.

Rome Adams works for Go Detroit, a community organization that delivers free bottles of water to customers affected by the water department’s crackdown. He said he’s seen pitiful living conditions.

“I feel like they should go after the businesses first, because most of them can afford to pay better than the people,” he said, shaking his head.

More than 500 people rallied in downtown Detroit last week against the disconnections, calling them humanitarian violations. Since then, the department has suspended shutoffs for about two weeks. A caravan from Windsor, Ontario across the river recently delivered a couple of hundred gallons to needy customers.

“This is bad,” Rome said.

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david harding Aug-31-2014 149 0
A British woman who was being held captive in the Democratic Republic of Congo so she can be "cured of gayness" is now safe, her girlfriend claimed.

Christina Fonthes, from Manchester, northern England, traveled to Africa earlier this month with her mother and sister to stay with an aunt. But shortly into her stay, the lesbian 27-year-old had her passport taken by her mother, reports The Independent.

Fonthes, a LGBT activist, was told her family wanted to keep her in the DRC to "fix" her sexuality. They were apparently unhappy with her decision to be an out lesbian.

On Saturday, girlfriend Jessica Creighton announced on Twitter that the Fonthes is safe and "on her way back to the UK."

"It's been an unbelievably tough few days," wrote Creighton, a sports journalist who has dated Fonthes for three years.
Same-sex relationships are legal in the DRC, although one MP this year tried to bring into law an anti-homosexuality bill.

Fonthes is the co-founder of Rainbow Noir, an organization that aims to be a safe haven for LGBT people of color in Manchester. Her friends from the group have been campaigning to raise awareness of her case on social media.


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Aug-30-2014 143 0
A young African-American father was tased by police while trying to pick up his children from preschool — and recorded the whole ordeal with his cellphone.

On Tuesday, Chris Lollie, of St. Paul, Minn., uploaded a video of his Jan. 31 arrest in a downtown skyway, which has outraged many viewers who feel he was racially profiled.

"The problem is I'm black," he told the cop, who laughed dismissively. "No it really is because I didn't do anything wrong. I'm not sitting there with a group of people. I'm sitting there by myself… not causing a problem with anyone."

Before the exchange, a security guard called the cops when he allegedly refused to leave an area in the First National Bank Building, police said.

The video shows Lollie politely but firmly tell an officer that he was within his rights to sit there. He also declined to identify himself, repeating that he did not break any laws or do anything wrong.

"That's a public area and if there's no sign that… say(s), 'This is a private area. You can't sit here,' no one can tell me I can't sit there," he said.

Another cop arrived and reached out for Lollie, who politely asked not to be touched.

"You're going to go to jail then," the second officer said. "Yeah you're going to go to jail… I'm not here to argue with you. Put your hands behind your back."

"Don't choke me! I have asthma sir!" Lollie said. "My kids are right there!"

The situation escalated quickly and one of the officers shot Lollie with a Taser, presumably in front of his children.

Afterward, Lollie said, "I just got off work at 9 o'clock… I came up here to pick up my kids at 10 o'clock and I get this? You racist motherf---ers. All y'all. I didn't do anything wrong. I'm a working man and I take care of my kids."

The St. Paul Police Department responded to the video on Thursday with a message on its Facebook page.

"As is often the case, the video does not show the totality of the circumstances," the statement reads.

Police wrote in a report that Lollie was "actively resisting by attempting to pull his arm away" and tried to "shove past us as he was pulling away from us," according to Twin Cities News.

"This is racist. They stopped me because I'm black," he told onlookers as they took him to jail.

He was charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstruction of the legal process but all counts were dismissed on July 31, police said.

After the court dismissed his case, authorities returned his cellphone which they had been holding as evidence, the Star Tribune reported.

Now that "evidence" is being used against them.

The St. Paul Police Department did not return a call from the Daily News for comment.

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Sasha Goldstein Aug-30-2014 459 0
An Atlanta police officer was busted trying to skip town Thursday, nearly one week after he kidnapped a woman he met online, took her to a secluded suburban area, shot her and then set her dead body on fire, police said.

Tahreem Zeus Rana, 23, was caught around 8:30 a.m. Thursday after he tried to board a flight to Monterey, Mexico, possibly en route to India, WSB-TV reported.

The murder suspect was on the no-fly list, cops said, and has since been fired.

"We are shocked and saddened by these developments,” the department said of the three-year veteran. “The officer has been relieved from duty, and is in a non-enforcement status."

Rana met 26-year-old Vernicia Woodard on Backpage.com for a “romantic exchange” in Rana’s hometown of Hapeville, a southern Atlanta suburb, police there said. He took the woman to a rural part of the town, shot her several times, then lit her on fire, police said.

A city worker found the burning body on Elm Street the morning of Aug. 22, the news station reported.

"He took her to a secluded area to do the crime and then, after killing her, used some kind of fuel to light her body on fire," Hapeville police Detective Stephen Cushing told the station.

Police believe he used his service weapon to kill the Woodard, mother to an 8-year-old. He became the prime suspect after the woman’s phone records led investigators to Backpage.com and eventually Rana, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

A “wanted” poster featuring Rana’s picture was released to the public Wednesday.

The murder comes as a shock to Hapeville police officers, who recalled watching Rana grow up in the community. He had a clean disciplinary file.

"I've been a police officer in city of Hapeville for 15 years and actually saw this young man grow up and heard him say, 'When I grow up, I want to be a police officer," Det. Cushing told the station.

Rana faces charges of murder, arson, kidnapping and tampering with evidence. He’s next due in court Sept. 12.

"Being someone who works in law enforcement ... it hurts a lot more to know that it was somebody in law enforcement," Woodard's sister, Tashara Gilyard, told WSB as she held back tears.

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Aug-30-2014 171 0
The death of a 45-year-old man while in police custody has been ruled a homicide, the medical examiner’s office said Friday.

The coroner said Ronald Singleton’s July 13 death in Midtown was brought on by “physical restraint by police during excited delirium.”

The medical examiner also said heart disease and obesity contributed to the Kips Bay man’s death.

Singleton had 61 arrests on his record, including busts for drugs, assaults and weapons possession.

Ronald Singleton, 45, died July 13 after being restrained by police.

His heartbroken wife, Lyn Warren Singleton, 44, admitted that her husband of 19 years had a drug history and multiple run-ins with the police. The 5-foot-7, 210-pound man “went into a panic” when cops approached him, she said.

“He was never good with police,” she said. “He always went into hysterics — this is before he even started indulging.”

She blames the cops for not giving the father of four and grandfather of three the medical attention he needed.
“They didn’t pay attention to him when he was crying for help,” she said. “Someone having a heart attack is different signs than someone just bugging out.”

On the day he died, Singleton was acting “overly irate and irrational” in the back of a taxi near St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Ave. and E. 51st St., police said.

The cabbie flagged cops down after Singleton cursed and screamed at him during the 12 a.m. altercation. When Singleton tried to fight off arriving officers, cops restrained him, putting him in a protective full-body wrap known as a burrito. He was not arrested, police said.

An ambulance was taking Singleton to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation when he went into cardiac arrest, officials said. It was immediately redirected to St. Luke’s—Roosevelt Hospital, where Singleton died.

Singleton’s widow said a detective called and told her that her husband was at the hospital. When she called St. Luke’s, she said, a Dr. Lee told her Singleton was dead on arrival and wore handcuffs.

No disciplinary action has been taken against the officers involved in subduing Singleton, a police source said. The Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the incident.

Singleton’s death occurred four days before Eric Garner died on July 17 after Staten Island cops put him in a chokehold — a practice banned by the NYPD in 1993. Garner’s death has been ruled a homicide.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who led a march against police brutality in Staten Island last weekend, vowed to investigate Singleton’s death thoroughly.

“It’s disturbing ... I’m very disturbed,” Sharpton said. “These are the reasons why we have to deal with changing police policy and training.”


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Aug-29-2014 239 0
The Opelousas Police Department is searching for a man who has been missing for about two weeks.

Alvin Joseph Thompson, also known as "Bum Bum," was last seen the Lafayette area roughly two weeks ago.

Anyone with information on Thompson's whereabouts is asked to call Opelousas Police at 337-948-2500.

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Aug-29-2014 173 0
Police records show two officers used their Tasers repeatedly to try to make Gregory Towns get up.

Thursday, Towns' family attorney, Chris Stewart, filed a lawsuit against the city of East Point.

“This is a direct violation of their own rules,” Stewart said. “You cannot use a Taser to escort or prod a subject.”

The lawsuit comes after the April death of Towns after he was repeatedly "drive-stunned" with Tasers by East Point police in an apparent effort to make him get up and walk after a foot chase.

Stewart said he is using copies of the city's own documents to piece together what happened in behalf of Towns' family.

Stewart alleges records combined with eyewitness accounts show two officers violated the city's standard operating procedures for Tasers.

“He wasn't cursing. He wasn't being abusive. He was saying, ‘I’m tired,’” Stewart said.

Stewart said Taser logs, combined with other information from the city, show two officers triggered their Tasers 13 times around the time in question: 10 for Sgt. Marcus Eberhart and three times for officer Howard Weems.

Stewart acknowledged the documents don't show the Taser made contact for each of the 13 trigger pulls. He said officer accounts vary, but none comes close to 13 Taser stuns.

“This situation is indefensible,” Stewart said.

Dale Preiser, one of Weems' lawyers at the Police Benevolent Association, said Weems continues to appeal his firing and Weems's actions did not cause Towns' death, but he does not wish to respond to the Towns' family attorney's comments.

In a statement, Weems' lawyers have maintained, "use of drive stun to gain compliance is permitted under federal and Georgia law."

A spokesperson said the city does not comment on pending or potential litigation.

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Nina Golgowski Aug-29-2014 116 0
The names of two Los Angeles police officers who shot and killed an unarmed, mentally challenged man more than two weeks ago have been released.

Police identified 25-year-old Ezell Ford's shooters Thursday as Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas, who were assigned to the Newton Division gang enforcement detail, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The release of their names follows public outrage over the Aug. 11 shooting, during which three bullets were planted in Ford's back while he was lying on the ground, said family.

Wampler has served on the force for 12 years while Villegas has served for eight years.

Police had said that their delay in releasing the two officers' names pended assessment into whether it could threaten their safety.

"In this particular case, it was necessary to investigate evidence brought to the department's attention regarding potential threats to the safety of the officers and ensure that measures were taken to mitigate those threats," the LAPD said in a statement obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Meanwhile Ford's autopsy report still remains hidden from public review due to a security hold placed by police.

They are also declining to say why the officers approached him while he was walking down the street.

Police have only said that he tackled an officer and tried to grab his gun.

Witnesses have disputed those claims, however.

"They had him in the corner and were beating him, busted him up, for what reason I don't know he didn't do nothing," Leroy Hill told the Huffington Post. "The next thing I know I hear a 'pow!' while he's on the ground. They got the knee on him. And then I hear another 'pow!' No hesitation. And then I hear another 'pow!' Three times."

One witness has additionally claimed that one officer yelled "shoot him" before they killed the man on the street.

Ford's death came two days before the similar, unarmed shooting death of Missouri teen Michael Brown which sparked nationwide demonstrations and protests.

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Aug-29-2014 137 0
In a $40 million federal lawsuit, five people arrested recently in Ferguson, Missouri, accuse police of using "wanton and excessive force" and treating U.S. citizens "as if they were war combatants."

A complaint filed Thursday alleges that police officers from Ferguson and St. Louis County used unnecessary force and made unjustified arrests as they cracked down on protests after the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown earlier this month.

The lawsuit lists Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, Ferguson officer Justin Cosma, several unnamed officers and the city and county governments as defendants. They did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A St. Louis County police spokesman declined to comment, referring inquiries to the county counselor's office.

The suit -- which includes accusations of intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent supervision, and assault and battery -- details circumstances allegedly surrounding several arrests between August 11-13:

-- Tracey White was about to buy an ice cream sundae at McDonald's when officers "in what appeared to be army uniforms, carrying rifles and sticks and wearing helmets" entered and ordered her to leave, according to the lawsuit. She was told to shut up, thrown to the ground and handcuffed after criticizing officers for the way they were treating her son, the lawsuit claims.

-- Dewayne Matthews was walking to his mother's house when a group of officers in military uniforms shot rubber bullets at him, the lawsuit alleges. He fell into a creek or sewer, the suit says, where officers "pounced on him, slammed his face into the concrete, and pushed his head into the water to the point that he felt he was going to be drowned."

-- Kerry White was shooting footage and holding his camera out his car window when an officer snatched his camera, "took out his memory card and threw it to the ground," the lawsuit says.

-- Damon Coleman and Theophilus Green were peacefully protesting, the lawsuit says, when police in riot gear fired tear gas and what appeared to be stun grenades in their direction, then "hurled racial epithets at them, while punching and kicking them the entire time."

CNN has not independently confirmed details of the arrests.

Police tactics to calm the crowds drew sharp criticism, including a rebuke from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

"At a time when we must seek to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the local community, I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message," Holder said as the protests unfolded.

As criticism of police tactics mounted, Gov. Jay Nixon Missouri tapped State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson to head up security in Ferguson on August 14.

This week, Johnson said police were scaling back their efforts in Ferguson now that the situation has cooled.

Belmar, the St. Louis County Police Chief, told reporters on Wednesday that he doesn't regret his agency's decisions to fire tear gas at protesters. That approach, he said, was much better than using nightsticks or dogs.

Even though President Barack Obama has called for a review of military equipment sales to local police deparments in light of the clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, Belmar said that such equipment is often necessary.

"I never envisioned a day that we would ever see that kind of equipment used against protesters," he said. "But I also never imagined a day in 28 years when we would see that kind of criminal activity spin out of peaceful demonstrations."

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